Apparently, MS Dhoni has irked severe criticism for his slow innings against England at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Sunday. Questions have been thrown to Dhoni and team management from all sections as fans, ex-cricketers and pundits all talked on the same line and wondered if the wicketkeeper-batsman should retire now.
Most of them questioned Dhoni’s ability to bat like his former self and finish matches from the most unprecedented situations. During the commentary, Sourav Ganguly and Nasser Hussain were heard questioning his style of play at a time when the asking-rate for India was above-12. In the following video both the former cricketers can be heard criticizing Dhoni.
After the game, social media was flooded with trolls and hate messages for the veteran cricketer. However, everyone missed out on the fact that Dhoni had the highest strike-rate, after Hardik Pandya, among all the Indian batsmen yesterday against England. He scored runs faster than skipper Virat Kohli and centurion Rohit Sharma.
When Dhoni came into bat in the 40th over, India was reeling at 226/4 and required another 112 runs at above 10 runs per over. Pandya was batting at a strike-rate of almost 150 and as new batsman Dhoni gave him the strike as much as possible.
In the last powerplay, when the bowling team is allowed to have five fielders in the boundary India’s scoring rate faltered as Pandya also lost his touch and got out in the 45th over. At a time when runs were not coming from the other end, Dhoni finished his innings at 42 not out in 31 balls with a strike rate of 136.36.
Meanwhile, no one is talking about the slow start India had yesterday. Chasing 338 at an asking-rate of above 6.6, scoring 27/1 in the first powerplay was never justified. Questions should have also been raised about Rohit and Kohli’s slow approach, after being settled for a long time. The opener, during his stay of 36 overs, played out a total of 56 dot balls which can be amounted to 9.2 overs. Also, why a certain KL Rahul is getting away after repeated failures is unknown to many.
When Rohit Sharma got out the scoreboard read 196/3 in 37th over, the run-rate being a paltry 5.5. In the last 14 overs, India added another 108 runs at a rate of almost eight runs an over. The Indian top-order, which is rated as one of the best in the world, looked clueless in the initial overs and failed to give their team the brisk start it needed as the pressure piled up. The middle-order had been suffering for some time now and scoring 140 in 14 overs was a task too tough for them against a potent English attack.
But comparing their performance against the top-three yesterday, Dhoni, along with Pandya, Rishabh Pant and Kedar Jadhav passed with flying colours. But fans on social media have ignored these facts and went on to troll MS Dhoni for an apparent slow innings, that he did not even play. Here are some of the examples of how the World Cup-winning captain is being pushed to the receiving end of such hatefuls messages.
Virat Kohli & Co. had lost the match in the first powerplay itself after managing only 27 runs. Kohli and Sharma failed to provide the impetus that the innings required from that point. Eventually, India succumbed to their first defeat in this year’s mega event by 38 runs.